Astralis is the best team in Counter-Strike Global Offensive. They have dominated the scene for the past year and they look like a team without flaws. There are various reasons for their strong performance, however, the excellent communications definitely play a big role. Astralis consists of five Danish players and Zonic as their coach. The all-Danish team makes a compelling case for same nationality teams over International mixed rosters.
The other finalists of the IEM Katowice Major, ENCE is an all Finnish project started by Joona “Natu” Leppänen. It started as a project to uplift Finnish Counter-Strike to the same level as some of the other European teams in Counter-Strike. Their excellent scouting and preparation saw them rise to the Finalists position at the IEM Katowice 2019 Major.
However, underlying all this talk of same nationality teams lies the dedication, hard work and coaching for these teams. However, the lack of a dominant result from any International team does lend credibility to the advantages of the same nationality players over others.
Faze Clan – An experiment without desired results
The team with the best chance of possibly becoming a world-class roster with an International team is Faze Clan. The team has seen multiple iterations of its roster with top tier teams from various nationalities. However, their best performance has been only during the latter half of 2017, when they looked like a team close to competing with Astralis. However, the team failed to keep up to its potential on multiple players. Their inability to stay at the same level arose from the team’s poor communications.
A look at their gameplay suggests that they rely on their individual performance and potential to gain an advantage for the team. Karrigan formed a strong team with the potential to become the best team in the world. The likes of Olofmeister, Guardian and Nik0 at their peak can easily take down Astralis. However, once they rose to the very top of the scene, he failed to take them to the next level. Eventually, the team communications seemed to break down and it was never more evident than their FaceIT London Major run. After going down to BIG and Na’Vi, Faze Clan saw a change in their roles. Nik0 took over the reins of the team as the In-Game Leader essentially changing their playstyle mid-way through the Major.
However, despite their attempts, Faze Clan sank further down the rankings. The team’s performance displayed very little team synergy and coordination between the players. There were moments of individual brilliance, however, the team never really posed a threat to Astralis.
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Communication is more important for Professional teams than raw talent
Faze Clan’s example taught us one thing and that is communication is one of the most important aspects of a team. We take an example of ENCE, the Finnish team. They don’t have a lineup which would evoke a sense of awe in a Counterstrike fan at first glance. However, they do have excellent communication between the players. Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen is young, but he is already able to lead the team to a new level of synergy. The players have an understanding of their roles and more importantly, each other’s playstyle.
ENCE’s Youtube Channel provides an insight into the team’s synergy and the comfort level between the players. All of this showcases the need for better synergy, coaching and coordination between players. These factors can help a team become a top tier team irrespective of their nationality or their common language.
Which are the International teams with a chance of dethroning Astralis?
The correct answer to this question right now is ‘none’. However, we have seen instances of brilliance from teams such as Faze Clan and Mousesports. Mousesports has been linked with roster changes which might see Karrigan join the team. We think this roster move would be a great decision for Karrigan as well as Mousesports.
The importance of a coach for an International team is very understated right now. Zonic is as much responsible for the Astralis’ supremacy as any one of their players. He has helped develop strong tactics which would see the Astralis players come out with an advantage in difficult situations. International teams often rely on the players’ individual skill and high skill ceiling to gain an advantage. However, this does not work beyond a certain point as the teams still need to ensure that they can counter their opponents in strategy and tactics. Without adequate depth to their strategic play, these International teams will fall flat at the very top.
Mousesports and Faze Clan
Mousesports has been linked with a brand new roster with multiple player changes to their team. It does seem like they would be practising with Frozen, Woxic, Ropz and ChrisJ with karrigan leading the pack. This team does not evoke a sense of accomplishment at first glance. However, we have seen other teams with lesser known players achieve much more. Karrigan is an In-Game Leader who can rally the players and help them achieve new heights. He is innovative when it comes to ensuring new strategies and a different playstyle for the team. This team has potential, but whether it is enough to propel them into the top tier of CounterStrike, only time will tell.
Faze Clan seems to be stuck in their own loop of trying to find the right balance within the team. It is really difficult to see all the players performing at their very best. Without adequate support for each other, the team seems to be unable to back each other in order to provide them with the best chance towards victory. Faze Clan has had their chance with a great group of players, but their inability to maintain their ascent as a strong competitor raises questions. With the recent changes, they now have an unproven coach and AdreN coming in from former Gambit team. Maybe, its time for Niko to step down from the role of the In-Game Leader for the team and focus on his individual gameplay.
Any International team’s success will not be due to the players’ nationalities
In the future, we will have an international team that is successful and one of the best in the world. This International team will evoke a sense of loyalty from multiple fans all over the world. They will be tempted to quantify success due to the best talent from multiple nationalities. However, any successful team will reach their position only because of their practice and training. Nothing replaces the age-old means of success with hard work and persistence.
For now, Astralis is the best team in the world and they look set to stay at the top of the scene for quite some time. The bigger question is, how long can they maintain their position at the top of the CS: GO scene? Will an International team like Faze Clan and Mousesports be the one to defeat Astralis? Or will we see a team such as Natus Vincere, Team Liquid or MiBr be the ones to dethrone Astralis from their seat? Let us know in comments below.